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Opposition Deputy Leader and Minister discuss climate change.

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Deputy Labor Leader

Shadow Minister for Employment & Industrial Relations Shadow Minister for Social Inclusion


ISSUES: Climate change

KARL: To the serious business of politics now. David Hicks and the environment have dominated this week.

SARAH: The Opposition continued to seek the high ground but Peter Garrett was left a little red faced, have a look at this.

PETER GARRETT: Is the Minister aware that Labor has today announced a doubling of the solar power rebate…

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well if that’s the case, then they haven’t doubled it at all, it is exactly the same rebate… I can’t help the Member for Kingsford-Smith, he doesn’t know what his policy is, if he can’t tell us what it is I am afraid I can’t enlighten him

(Question Time, House of Representatives 28 March 2007)

KARL: Isn’t it funny when they all laugh like that in unison? Well joining us now Deputy Opposition Leader, Julia Gillard from Canberra and from Melbourne, Health Minister, Tony Abbott. Good morning to the both of you, how are you?

JULIA: Good morning Karl, good.

KARL: We haven’t got you in the studio, what’s going on?

TONY: I am in Melbourne Karl…

JULIA: I am hanging out in Canberra…

KARL: That’s why, that’s why. We have got to stop you talking over each other.


JULIA: I decided I would rather be in a city, other than Tony. That’s not true. I am here because we have got the climate change summit tomorrow, so staying in Canberra for that.

KARL: We will get onto that climate change summit very shortly but first of all Peter Garrett has been drawing a great deal of attention, is he losing the battle against Turnbull?

JULIA: Certainly not. Peter Garrett is out there announcing important policies. He announced an important policy this week. Malcolm Turnbull thought he should laugh at it but I don’t think Australians will be laughing at it. It is actually doubling the amount of money available to help people put solar panels on their homes and I know when I talk to people a lot of people are looking at their houses and saying, what could I do to help and obviously solar panels and solar power is one of the things they can do. And you might have seen we have got an advertisement featuring Peter Garrett’s voice about climate change so people will be talking about Peter Garrett and the role he is playing, leading the climate change debate.

SARAH: Still a bit of a stuff up though Julia, do you think he is a bit threatened by Malcolm Turnbull?

JULIA: It was a silly word play about ‘double’. We are doubling the amount of money in the program, we are doubling the number of houses who are going to get access to the program and Malcolm Turnbull thought he would take the small point of, we are not doubling the amount per house. Well that doesn’t matter, it is twice as big, twice as many households and it was a bit of Question Time theatre but it doesn’t really affect the substance and the substance is a good program which is going to help people put solar panels on their homes.

KARL: Alright. Tony, for you Hicks and climate change were big issues this week, were you playing catch up on both of those issues?

TONY: Well no, I think as we saw with Peter Garrett and Malcolm Turnbull, Labor were in a sense were playing catch up. They were basically just committing to a policy that the Government has had in place for several years. So no I think we are just getting on with Government and Labor is doing the usual sort of opposition grandstanding.

SARAH: Well the Prime Minister has met with Nicholas Stern this week and he has promised a balanced approach. Do you think that the Government can cut emissions and also protect jobs?

TONY: It’s very hard to do both and that’s what we need to face up to if we are going to, particularly, if we are going to do it soon, if we are going to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions it is going to have an impact on the economy. Now Labor, are if you like, trying to canonise themselves by saying, oh look how good we are, we will cut greenhouse gases by 60 per cent in fifty years time. Well I mean this is really a game. What is going to happen now, that is the big issue and what economic risks to we want to run now in order to tackle problems that might arise down the track?

KARL: Alright. Julia are you prepared to meet those Stern targets by 2020 at the expense of jobs?

JULIA: No our target Karl is for 2050. It is to cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 and I would echo the words of Sir Nicholas Stern who was here this week and is a big expert, the costs of inaction are greater than the costs of action. It is just that common sense proposition that if you have got a problem, if you start solving it now, it will be easier than letting it get to be a bigger and bigger problem and then try and solve it later. And in terms of catch up, the problem for the Howard Government is it is chockas with climate change sceptics. Even Tony himself yesterday at a diabetes event was managing to say how sceptical he was about climate change. Whereas we are out with the practical policies, you know, green cars, clean coal, the solar panels, signing Kyoto, things that would make a difference.

TONY: Julia, these are all gestures, with respect. What are you going to do now? Now running around, beating your chest saying, we are going to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, I mean this is pie in the sky when you die stuff. I mean you are talking about the long, long term future. No one can take that seriously.

JULIA: But Tony I think Australians want to know that their children and grandchildren are going to live on a planet that hasn’t been devastated by climate change…

TONY: Of course. So what are you going to do now?


TONY: What will you do today and tomorrow?

JULIA: If we were in government tomorrow Tony, we would sign Kyoto, we would put $500 million…

TONY: So you will sign a bit of paper?

JULIA: Yes. We would put $500 million…

TONY: What difference would that make?

JULIA: It means we get into the carbon trading scheme that is going to dominate the world economy over the next period to come. We would put $500 million into clean coal technology, we would put $500 million into the development of green cars, so we weren’t polluting every time we drove. We would put money into getting people using solar panels on their home to cut the energy use of Australian households. They are the policies we have announced to date and there will be more to come. You are in government and what are you doing except saying we are basically sceptical about climate change and giving money to Indonesia?

KARL: Final word Tony.

TONY: Well as you saw this week we are putting $200 million into try to tackle deforestation and deforestation is actually a much more serious contributor to greenhouse gases than the sorts of things that Julia is talking about. Every year around the world something like twice the area of Tasmania is cleared. We want to do something practical about that and that is what we announced this week.

KARL: Just finally guys, Sarah’s last day. Any final words?

TONY: We are going to really miss you Sarah, I think the idea of, as we are waking up to Sarah every Friday morning, that is a rather nice thought, I have got to say.


SARAH: Thanks Tony.

KARL: Tony Abbott.

SARAH: I love you but I don’t know if Julia feels the same way though.

JULIA: I was going to say now Tony’s said that I can understand why Sarah is leaving.


KARL: A little creepy.

JULIA: We are going to miss you Sarah and I suspect you are not going to miss waking up to Tony, that’s a really bad thought.


SARAH: No I have loved being with you guys, I am going to miss you guys. It has been a good challenge for me.

KARL: Thank you, you two.

TONY: Come on the pollie peddle Sarah.